Interrailing - My house in Budapest

Interrailing Budapest 10

1000 miles from home, eight days and seven trains later I made it to Budapest, the furthest point from home and probably my very favourite part of my trip. There aren’t many European cities that I’ve been to that felt quite as homely as Budapest did. The big long main streets juxtaposed with the narrow cut throughs and alleyways of the eighth district really brought together my favourite parts of some of my other top cities.

I arrived mid-afternoon after a good sleep on the train – not sure what it was but whilst I was away be sleeping on the train became a fast favourite. I was lucky to be introduced to a friend of a friend via email before I left so was going straight out to meet them on my first evening after stopping at my hostel. I should mention my hostel here as highly recommended; the staff were the best of all the places I stayed, it cost me just 24 euro for the two night stay and it was incredibly clean, comfortable and private – even in the twelve bed mixed dorm! I stayed at Avenue Hostel at Oktogon, definitely consider it if you’re looking for a great budget choice.

I met my pals at the super cool Kisüzem for fröccs (spritzers) and a crash course in all things Budapest. The guys I met were totally brilliant and people I’ve actually kept in touch with since getting home. Two of us went for a proper Budapest night out, drinking in his favourite bars (most of which seemingly had no name) and eating incredible burgers at midnight from Zing Burger's food truck. Best of all, everything was so damn cheap! I think my burger was 600 forints, a beer at the ‘hidden bar’ 200 forints and a double rum and coke about 500 forints – for a conversion rate £1 is 420 forints or $1 is 267 forints! CHEAP!

Despite rolling into bed at a time nearer to sunrise than I’d have liked, I was up and out early given I only had one real full day in Budapest. I had the morning to myself, going to the farmers market at Szimpla, Budapest’s most famous ruin bar, and exploring the independent stores of district seven and eight. I then met my new friend for a free walking tour in the mid afternoon. I couldn’t recommend the tours enough – especially if you’re only visiting for a short time. We covered so much of the city over the afternoon meaning I got to see a real side of Budapest I might have missed if I’d tried alone.

Late the in afternoon sun we explored the beautiful Buda side of the city with its incredible castle and magical winding streets. We made our way back towards the river to the most incredible place I’ve been for some time; Bambi is a little café at Frankel Leo utca 2 and is quite simply the café that time forgot. My new friends had explained to me the day before that this café has remained exactly as it was during Soviet rule, even most of the staff are the same! Is had an incredible vibe with a weirdly sparce but comforting interior. Go visit and get a ‘raspberry juice’.

We walked for hours and hours (literal hours!), and even had to stop for a slice of Flodni for sustenance before dinner. This is a traditional Hungarian Jewish pastry of thin layers of pasty with apple, poppy seeds, walnuts and plum jam between each layer. Needless to say mine was gone before I could take a photo! Eventually, after many detours to look at the beautiful neo-classical architecture and press out noses against the glass of shops with exciting interiors we ended up at Jelen Bisztró for a big pasta dinner. Huge portions and Hungarian wine were exactly what I needed.

There is so much more for me to do in Budapest I just know it, the main two being the thermal baths and to climb to the Citadel. I’ll be going back, I just know it, so if you have any suggestions or have read any good posts on more to do let me know here or on my twitter.

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